Gorey fete: angry demands for reform after spaghetti eating contest ends in tragedy
Tense scenes in the States Chambers after emergency meeting descends into chaos
There have been appeals for calm from the Bailiff after an emergency States meeting deteriorated into a foul-mouthed slanging-match yesterday, after Members tried and failed to thrash out a unified governmental response to the news that three islanders had been rushed into intensive care on Thursday evening after collapsing during Gorey fete’s spaghetti eating competition.
Event organisers have been forced onto the back foot as relatives of the stricken competitors demand answers as to exactly how such a thing could happen; and to why the two St John’s ambulance staff in attendance at the proceedings were allegedly ‘drinking and singing’ at the Dolphin Inn at the time of the incident.
Despite this, one Jersey whistle-blower, and former event volunteer, puts the incident solely down to the quality of the ingredients.
‘Two years ago,’ he explained ‘they used ‘Bella Pasta’ sourced from a village outside Sienna. Last year they used ‘Pasta Splendido’ from a Parisian wholesaler. But this year' he said 'they used ‘Pasta Spectaculario’ from a company called Mamma Giannelli’s, that is produced in a converted asbestos factory on a trading estate in Coventry. It’s thirty-eight pence for five kilos’ he said ‘Retail.’ ‘So god only knows what they’re paying for it at Trade.’
Others too, have raised concerns. ‘Mamma Gianelli’s’ explained Cambridgeshire biology professor Tara Girthschnell ‘represents something of an anomaly within nutrition circles.’ ‘It is’ she said ‘the only food product on sale in Europe which contains more starch than actual starch; and poses a significant risk to the digestive system if consumed at high levels. For every 100 grams that is eaten, the risk of Oesophical Endotrophic Submergence/Resurgence Disorder increases by a magnitude of seven.’ ‘This is where the body attempts to both process and expel the matter simultaneously; resulting in catastrophic breakdown of operational functioning – and, I am afraid to say, in the types of scene we have witnessed in Gorey.’ ‘The previously last reported case was in Derby in 1984, during the mining crisis’
Grouville resident Claire Bowen described what happened.
‘My children and I came in quite late. The competitors were already seated, and had just been given their bowls of pasta. There was a real electricity in the air – but it just didn’t feel right somehow. As they began the countdown for them to begin, and the crowds started cheering, I remember looking down to Emily and Nicholas and wishing that we had gone to check out the La Robeline sausage tent instead. Or the African trinket stall. Anything, in fact. But by then it was too late. Suddenly it all just exploded, and everyone went berserk.'
'Not two minutes into it all' she explained 'you could see that some of the competitors were in trouble. I called out for them to stop, for them to halt the competition; but it was useless. There was this awful tribalism to it all. A ghoulish lusting in the masses to be a part of something malign.’
‘Nicholas started crying.’ ‘One of the men began convulsing, his face went yellow, then red, then purple - but still the crowd bayed. I noticed another two of them beginning to look the same as he did. He crammed in another mouthful, and I just somehow knew that he had crossed a threshold. Without warning, he collapsed: face down into a bowl of parmesan anchovies. It was horrible. I snatched up the children and barged them out past a group of heckling Rotary Club representatives.’ Mrs Bowen paused. ‘What message is all this sending out to young people?’ she asked ‘I haven’t felt this empty since they shot Harambe the gorilla’
Whilst expressing their 'deepest sympathies' with the men in hospital, The Parish of St Martyn has yet to issue a formal statement on incident.